Top 10 Mixing and Mastering Tips of 2018

This year-end roundup looks back at some of our favorite and most-popular articles about mixing and mastering. Check out our 10 best mixing and mastering tips.

Mixing Console Fader
Photo by Drew Patrick Miller

Mixing and Mastering Tips

Audio mixing is the process of combining multiple layers of audio to make one final track. The mixdown process makes sure all the parts in a song sound good together. Mixing involves balancing levels, panning instrument positions in the stereo field, equalizing, compressing, harmonics enhancing, fixing problems, and adding various effects. Mixing also involves automation, editing sounds in creative ways, and giving instruments their own space in the mix. The goal is to sculpt a balanced and unified arrangement that is ready for mastering.

The mastering stage enhances the mixdown and prepares it for distribution. This final step applies many of the same tools and techniques as mixing. However, the process involves making a series of small and subtle moves to create a final ‘polished’ stereo track.

1. Kick and Bass Mixing Tips

Kick and Bass

This guide offers a few suggestive mixing techniques to help you mix your kick and bass. Learn how to achieve a pro sounding low-end that stacks up to commercial releases.

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2. How to Improve Your Mix with Tonal Balance Control

Tonal Balance Control

This guide shows you how to use iZotope‘s Tonal Balance Control plugin to achieve professional mixes and masters that sound great in any listening environment.

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3. What Is Audio Saturation and How It Improves Your Mix

Waves J37 Tape Audio Saturation Plugin

Learn how to enhance your mix with saturation. This guide will give you a better understanding of audio saturation and harmonic distortion.

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4. How to Do Proper Gain Staging in Your Daw

Gain Staging

What is gain staging and how can it improve your mixdowns. This guide gives you a better understanding of digital gain staging and offers five tips to boost your mixing skills.

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5. What Is Mastering and Why It’s Important?

Mixing and Mastering Console

Get a better understanding of the mastering process. Learn what the mastering stage is and why it’s essential to master your music.

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6. Mixing Tips: Mid-Side Processing

ICON graduate James Geary introduces you to mid-side processing. He also demonstrates how to enhance sounds with this effective mixing technique using various plugins.

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7. Ableton Live: Parallel Processing Tips

Parallel Processing

ICON Instructor Paul Laski takes you into Ableton Live and demonstrates how to create a parallel processing rack to enhance your music. Learn what parallel processing is and why it’s an effective mixing technique.

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8. Mixing Tips: Add Punch to Drums

ICON graduate James Geary demonstrates how to inject punch and presence into your drum sounds. He outlines effective mixing techniques that will take your drums to the next level.

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9. How To Use Reference Tracks To Improve Your Mixes

Reference Tracks

What are reference tracks? This guide introduces you to reference tracks and explains how they will help you achieve better mixdowns and arrangements.

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10. 5 Alternative Sidechain Compression Methods

ICON graduate James Geary introduces alternative sidechain compression methods in Ableton Live. James also takes you through the setup of each sidechain plugin and offers tips on how to get better results.

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About Icon Collective

ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.


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